Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

I decide to do a cookout-style dinner as a "valentine" to my family: BBQ chicken that John grills up, corn casserole, salad, and red strawberries. They look beautiful in the blue bowl. I wonder how many JohnAndrew will eat. 

Normally he inhales all fruit, especially strawberries. But tonight he is picky with his dinner. He starts to refuse everything except the berries, then even before we are done with dinner, he pushes his few last bites away. He refuses the pink heart cookie that Mimi had made and sent to him. 

I guess he is full. 

Taken with Instagram
 Later, we sit in bed and debate the latest episode of Once Upon A Time that streams to John's laptop. The show finishes, and we decide to watch an episode of Revenge.

Romance at it's finest.

As the episode ends, Ava Joy fusses for her late-night snack. I pick her up and as she is latching on, JohnAndrew's hollow cries bleat through the baby monitor. I listen for a moment, thinking this is just a quick fuss before he rolls over and falls back asleep. It is 11pm.

But it doesn't stop. I hear fear and distress in his cry, not his standard annoyance from waking when he was trying to sleep. His stools have been loose the past few days, and I wonder if he has scared himself by filling his diaper. I send John to investigate as Ava Joy and I nurse.

John disappears out the bedroom door. Seconds pass. The creaky whine of JohnAndrew's bedroom door interrupts the sound of his distress. He quickly quiets.

"Little Man, this is gross. What happened?" Rustling. More whine-crying.

"Momma, I am in need of backup." Oh great, perhaps JohnAndrew has gone chimp-y and smeared? That would be hard, considering the one-piece sleeper we put him down in. I wish our monitor was 2-way so I could ask how bad it really is and what supplies I need.

Ava Joy continues to nurse as I climb the stairs. The smell slaps me as I mount the last 2 steps.

This is not poop. Oh no. This is vomit.

I walk into the room, now brightly lit with the overhead light. JA begins crying again, reaching for me. I look into the crib. I find his entire dinner.

We shuffle the babies between us, comforting JohnAndrew while stripping him down. The vomit keeps coming, and each time he is scared. His hands dart to his mouth, as if to hold it in, and he pulls them away covered in yuck. In his distress, he rubs his head. A cute self-soothing mechanism when his hands aren't full of vomit.

He reaches to cradle my face. I swiftly pull his hands into a towel.

John gives him a bath while I tackle the bed. No one wishes for this job. Unless they wish for the job of mother.

Down to our bedroom. Ava Joy finally sleeps and is tucked into her basket. JohnAndrew flops like a dying fish: a spurt of energy that jerks him to and fro, then limp and lifeless. He lays between us and whine-cries.

I give him a sip of water. The whine-cry stops. Success. He lays down, soothed.

Taken with Instagram
Until he vomits again. The comforter and sheets are soaked.

This process repeats until I take his cup away and turn off the lights. The whine-cry continues. John and I take turns cuddling his feverish body close to us. He fish-flops every few minutes. I doze. Somehow, John snores.

I awaken to the sound of Anna. She is on John's side of the bed, relating a scary dream. JohnAndrew lays between us, his body a V, feet on John's stomach and head on mine.

Anna is comforted and John walks her back to bed. JohnAndrew fusses as he leaves the room, but I draw him close to me and he quiets. We doze again.

Then it is 5:45. The alarm is going off, and JohnAndrew whine-cries, causing Ava Joy to stir. John pulls JA's toddler body into his chest as I bring Ava Joy into bed to nurse her. The 4 of us are surprisingly still and only moderately cramped.

Snooze has run out and the alarm sounds again. It's my cue... the day awaits and I can hear Abigail plodding around; soon she will want her breakfast before walking to the bus stop.

John and I exchange whispers. He gets up. I cuddle the babies. Before long, he and Abigail are out the door; he kisses me before he leaves and wishes me luck in my day. The 3 littles are cuddled with me in bed.

This is how we spent our Valentine's night. And this is how I know John loves me.


Eryka said...

oh! I'm just speechless with empathy for you well. Well, I'm not sure I can perfectly empathize because I don't have kids and I don't throw up, but I do hate throwing up and I know how scary it can be for a little baby. You are such a strong woman, Grace, and I admire you for your ability to be such a great, loving mom and wife. Major kudos for John too! What a great Dad!

you only live once said...

I LOVE your last line! It is so true and the only way a person could get weepy in a Hallmark way after reading this. Nothing like dying to self. You two make a great team. --Elaine

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